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Moroccan dragon fruits seek a place in the international market

The Moroccan producer Sweet Pitaya has been among the pioneers of growing novel exotic fruits in Morocco, including its flagship product, the dragon fruits that he introduced in 2010, according to its founder Omar Lahlou.

Lahlou said: "Considering that the subtropical climate of the Azemmour region is favorable to the production of several exotic fruits and that the market for these fruits is still virgin in Morocco, and also given the proximity of Morocco to the European market, we have seized this development opportunity for this segment of high-quality, nutritious, and healthful products."

He continues: "We have selected varieties that are adapted to the Moroccan climate and soil, and that are also characterized by outstanding appearances, such as the Ruby, Orion, Golden, and Amazonas varieties. We have made considerable efforts in the breeding of these varieties, both in terms of production techniques and in terms of market requirements and training of the workforce. We'll continue in this way to produce typical Moroccan dragon fruits."

The path of the producer has been strewn with challenges, especially the climatic disruptions that Morocco has faced: "We have been confronted with the problem of sudden temperature changes that have delayed our production process. But the prospects for growth are still present. We have already reached a diverse clientele in the local market, in Europe, and in the United States, and we are steadily progressing to reach our quality goals and a volume of 800 tons per year in a horizon of 3-4 years.

Lahlou is banking on a virgin domestic market: "Moroccan consumers are fond of dragon fruits, given their nutritional value and taste, and also for their novelty in the country. This gap in the market is yet to be filled, and the dragon fruit industry remains solid and has great potential".

"The European market also has an interest in importing dragon fruits from Morocco, adds Lahlou, Europe is geographically distant from the locations of mass production in Asia, especially when we know that dragon fruits are very fragile and perishable. Procuring these fruits from Morocco will allow the European market to get a very fresh produce at lower transportation costs."

But the strongest argument for buying Moroccan dragon fruit, according to Lahlou, is that: "We produce in windows where Vietnam and Thailand are at the end of their season, which allows us to supply the market in periods of a lack of these fruits on the market."

Lahlou concludes: "We do not aim to compete with Vietnam and Thailand for example, we offer different products, hybrid varieties in a different season, and our goal is to develop a Moroccan dragon fruit close to the markets and adapted to its needs, and the market proves us right."

For more information:
Omar Lahlou
Frutenza Sweet Pitaya Morocco
Tel: +212 664-716976 

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